NEW YORK, Aug. 16, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- According to Hach & Rose, LLP, New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed the Adult Survivors Act (ASA) into law on May 24, 2022. The ASA creates a one-year lookback window for sexual assault survivors to bring a lawsuit against their abusers, provided the sexual assault occurred when they were 18 or older.
During the one-year lookback window, the time limit established by the statute of limitations on sex abuse claims will be lifted, allowing survivors to sue no matter how long ago the alleged sexual abuse occurred. The statute of limitations establishes a timeline of three years for civil sexual abuse claims. Still, many survivors cannot or do not report sexual abuse or assault within that time. Survivors might initially be hesitant to sue their abusers for various reasons, including shame, fear of retaliation, fear that police won't help, and fear of telling friends and family.
Survivors of sex crimes that occurred when the victim was at least 18 years old can begin filing lawsuits in November 2022, six months from the date the governor signed the legislation into law. The one-year lookback window will officially close in November 2023. The language in the ASA also ensures that the courts prioritize survivors' cases and that the courts adjudicate these civil actions in a timely manner.
The ASA applies to about 20 sex crimes listed in Penal Law Article 130. Crimes include sexual misconduct, rape, forcible touching, persistent sexual abuse, aggravated sexual abuse, female genital mutilation, and predatory sexual assault.
"We're very excited to stand with adult survivors and support them through their journey of reclaiming their voice through litigation. We know how emotional the process can be, and are looking forward to vigorously prosecuting their claims," said Hillary Nappi, a lawyer at Hach & Rose.
The ASA is modeled after the Child Victims Act (CVA), another piece of legislation passed by the Legislature and signed into law in 2019. The CVA also created a one-year lookback window (which was extended to two years due to COVID-19) for survivors of childhood sexual assault.
Under the CVA, any person who was sexually assaulted or abused as a minor was allowed to sue their abuser during the lookback window, regardless of when the assault or abuse occurred. The act also revised the statute of limitations on civil child sex abuse claims, allowing survivors of child sexual abuse to take legal action in civil court up until age 55.
Another notable feature of the ASA includes a provision for civil actions against institutions or employers who may have been partly liable if a lawsuit had been brought within the statute of limitations. Survivors of sexual assault that occurred in the workplace or within the scope of their employment will be legally entitled to name employers as defendants in lawsuits.
While it remains to be seen how many adult survivors of sexual abuse will come forward and take legal action, the passage of the ASA is undoubtedly a notable victory for survivors.
At Hach & Rose, LLP, our New York sexual abuse lawyers are committed to protecting victims of sexual abuse. We will be ready to investigate your case and work to uncover whether the perpetrator or negligent third party could be held accountable through criminal charges, a civil lawsuit, or both. If you or a loved one suffered any form of sexual abuse, don't wait until it is too late to get justice. Call us at (646) 969-3383 or reach out to us online for a 100% free and confidential consultation.
Media Contact: Hach & Rose, LLP , (646) 663 - 3012
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